Spring-time prescribed fires planned
On the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
April 30, 2008
Teton interagency fire managers plan to conduct several prescribed fires this spring to treat more than 2,900 acres of wildland fuels. Projects are scheduled for locations in Kemmerer, Pinedale and Jackson Hole, and include: the Granite Creek area in Grand Teton National Park; the Lava Creek area east of Moran Junction; Hoback Ranches on the Bridger-Teton National Forest; and the Chicken Creek area on the south end of the Wind River mountains. In addition, the Kemmerer district will be burning piles in the Fontenelle Basin. If weather conditions are conducive, firefighters will burn these proposed units during the next few weeks of May.
“Prescribed fires in the spring create a mosaic of burned and unburned fuels, resulting in diverse wildlife habitat and vigorous plant regrowth,” said Interagency Fuels Specialist Mack McFarland. “However, prolonged winter weather conditions have pushed back our normal spring burning by as much as two weeks. These conditions have also created a short window of opportunity between snow off and green up when prescribed fires can be effectively used to treat target acres.”
North Zone Projects:
• Lava Creek – This prescribed fire, which is primarily on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, includes two units totaling 182-acres in the Buffalo Valley defensible space fuels reduction project. The project area contains primarily sagebrush and grass fuels with intermixed aspen and conifer-encroached aspen stands. The prescribed fire will help break up the continuity of brush fields while maintaining or increasing the coverage of aspen stands to reduce the potential for high-intensity fires.
• Granite Creek – This prescribed fire includes 92 acres of sagebrush and grass near Poker Flats at Grand Teton National Park’s southern boundary. Along with reintroducing fire to create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas to enhance habitat, this project will modify fuel loading to reduce fire behavior in the event of a wildfire in an area that borders private residences and lands, and includes park buildings and other facilities.
Both projects focus on creating defensible space around park and forest developed areas, and target accumulations of flammable fuels to minimize the risk of future high-intensity wildland fires.
East Zone Projects:
• Hoback Ranches Pile Burn – This prescribed fire on the Bridger-Teton National Forest includes 10 units and a total of 250 acres of piles near the community of Hoback Ranches. Burning of these piles is a follow up treatment to the Hoback Ranches wildland urban interface thinning that was completed in 2005 and 2006.
• Chicken Creek – This project is a landscape burn in sagebrush, grass, and aspen fuel types. The purpose of the project is to increase habitat diversity and structure to improve the vegetative quality and quantity in deer and elk transition range in the Chicken Creek and Squaw Creek areas of the Pinedale Ranger District. The prescribed fire area includes 2,310 acres.
“Even though April has provided colder than normal temperatures, and delayed our spring burning, I am hopeful that we will still have a burn window to accomplish some fuels and wildlife related objectives,” said Bridger-Teton’s East Zone Fuels Asst. Fire Management Officer Mark Randall.
Fire managers will proceed with prescribed fire ignitions when favorable weather and fire behavior conditions are met. Smoke will be visible the day of the burn, and may persist for several days, especially in mountain valleys during early the morning and evenings. Please use caution in the vicinity of the fires and be aware that minimal traffic restrictions may be implemented to allow for public and firefighter safety and fire equipment access.
For more information about prescribed fires, please call 307-739-3300 for park information or 307-739-5500 for forest information.